5 Tips for Dog Friendly Family Photos

“Can I bring my dog to our photo session?”- Client

“YES!”- My answer 100% of the time!

I am always always always down to include pets in your portraits. Christmas cards, engagements, wedding day— my answer is always the same. I mean, just look at this little face!!

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However, including your pets can be stressful for the client and the puppers, which is why I have complied 5 of my favorite tips to make the process smooth and pain free!


Tip #1– Make sure your pup is in a comfortable setting. If your dog isn’t used to being in a park or public place, take them there before the photo shoot or arrive 20-30 minutes early to help them acclimate to the area. If you know your dog is more comfortable at home, request that the shoot take place at your home. Often I have met my client at their home for portraits to include their fur babies and then went to second location leaving their pup at home. A pup in a familiar setting alone will lessen the amount of stress on everyone!

Tip #2– Bring lots of treats and toys. None of my dogs react well to toys or squeaks, but mention treats and my girls will always perk up. Bones are nice, but I always bring the best of the best treats for shoots with Dally dog aka peanut butter!


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Tip #3- Tell your photographer key words to get their attention- My littlest baby, Lucy, will not pay attention to the camera to save her soul, but at the mere mention of “Papa and Nana,” she will tilt her ears to the side and look just adorable. Share any info that might help your photographer get the best shots of your doggies with ears up and big smiles. (If your dog is into that sort of thing!)


Tip #4- Wear clothing that is dog friendly! The probability that you are going to have to do some pet wrangling is pretty high, so make sure you are wearing clothes that allow for that. Think of poses ahead of time that will work well for your pet and what clothing options will be best for those poses. For example, one of my pups can be held easily, so poses with me holding her or sitting with her are going to be the best. Shorter dresses and skirts may not be ideal for trying to pose me gracefully while trying to get Lucy to cooperate as well.


Also, look for clothing options that hides dog hair or blends in with their dog hair. My Dally girl is white, so I would try clothing that is a white or light color or something that doesn’t attract dog hair. A sweater would not be my friend in this case!

Tip #5- And, the most important of all … BE PATIENT. It may seem like it is not going well, but your photographer has your back. Trust them to be getting the best shots and trust them to get your doggies attention! The best thing you can do is keep smiling at the camera and practicing patience. And, if patience isn’t your thing-- practice counting to 10!

Including pets can be a challenge, but it can also be a lot of fun  and sweet to remember your family pets in your special memories.

And, up next on the blog— tips on how to take better pictures with your chickens!